Houston’s untimely passing on the eve of the Grammy Awards has shocked everyone, nearly extinguishing the normally festive atmosphere in Los Angeles surrounding the music industry’s biggest night. While fans will unfortunately not have the opportunity to see her sing live again, Houston’s legacy will live on via her final film, “Sparkle,” which is scheduled to be released by Sony in August as planned.
A rep for the studio expressed deep sympathy for the loss of the icon to MTV News.
“Like all those who knew and loved her, we are shocked and saddened and the world has lost an incomparable talent. Right now our thoughts are with her daughter, her family and her friends.”
The film’s producer, Bishop T.D Jakes, also expressed his sadness upon hearing the news:
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic and untimely passing of Whitney Houston, whom we were blessed to have just completed work with on the remake of the film ’Sparkle.’ We ask the world to join us in lifting up Whitney’s family in prayer and ask God for their strength and comfort during this devastatingly difficult time,” Bishop wrote in a statement. “At the apex of her career, Whitney had no peer, with a voice that shaped a generation. She has left behind a musical and film legacy that will endure. … She will be sorely missed by us all.”
“Sparkle” is a remake of the 1976 Irene Cara film about three talented young musicians who struggle with addiction. The 2012 version features “American Idol” alum Jordin Sparks as the titular character Sparkle and Houston, who also served as executive producer after having acquired the rights to the film more than a decade ago, as her mother, Emma.
Houston’s co-producer on the project, Howard Rosenman, told the Los Angeles Times he was in total shock upon hearing the news.
“I have no idea about the impact [of Houston’s death] on ’Sparkle,’ which I saw last night,” he told the newspaper of screening a rough cut of the recently wrapped film. “[Houston] was unbelievably fantastic in it.”
“Sparkle” was Houston’s first movie in 16 years, since her performance alongside Denzel Washington in the 1996 holiday feel-good film “The Preacher’s Wife.” Her most memorable and celebrated role was in the 1992 romantic drama “The Bodyguard.”
Loretta Devine, Houston’s costar from “Waiting To Exhale” told MTV News that she looked forward to taking to the big screen with Houston again. “I am overwhelmed. I cannot wrap my mind around this. I missed the chance to see her at a party this past Thursday and when we spoke last she had just finished “Sparkle” and she told me how excited she was to start production on “Waiting To Exhale 2.” My prayers go out to her family and I am so honored for the time I spent working with her.”
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MTV News’ Sway and James Montgomery will be live from the Grammys red carpet this Sunday, February 12 starting at 5 p.m. ET to get reactions from music’s biggest stars on the death of Whitney Houston. Watch Reactions and Remembrances at MTV.com.